Bruxelles - Brussels - Brüssel

The famous Atomium

The Atomium and the botanical gardens in its neighborhood are well worth using a few hours of spare time. The taxi ride over to the airport is short.

For a researcher, certainly the EU commission’s concrete blocks and cash-only caféterias are always a journey to both the wealth of funding, the wrath of project review, and the center of the earth.

What else is there to be done on the occasion of frequent visits to Europe’s capital – Brussels or Bruxelles, or Brüssel? Certainly, Belgian bar culture, and its beer culture are absolutely worth exploring. Brussels, in addition, offers many public parks and historic buildings – the possibilities of walks are beyond article space.

What to do

  • Pay a visit to Corica Café, a coffee bar & coffee roasting shop near the stock exchange in Kjekenmarkt 49. Chose your roast and origin, and get an espresso. And yes, they’ve got Kopi Luwak, if you dare. Or a decent selection of tea.
  • Get a brochure from the tourist office, and walk the parks, the royal castle area, the boulevard, or the old town center.

Where to stay

  • Hotel Mozart is always worth a stay. Handmade Moroccan interieur, shallow breakfast, located right on target next to the old town market. Rates from 50€ to 80€. Wireless available in some rooms.

Getting around

  • Use the public transport systems. Tickets are available for single, return, 2-day and 3-day trips.
  • Besides the Brussels airport, which is right on the train into the city, you can check for cheap flights to Charleroi, one hour south of Brussels. Here, many cheap airlines can be used. There is a bus connection right to Gare du Midi.
  • The Brussel city bike project Villo, similar to projects in Vienna, Nice or Oslo, allows you the use of city bicycles.

Where to eat

Eating in Brussels is an ancient art. There is a wide spread in restaurant quality and prices. On top, Brussels is a networking and lobby place in the heart of the European Union. Most people prefer to dine with their contacts in a place where they don’t know anyone else. You wouldn’t want to meet your professor while enjoying Belgian beer. Or while he’s working hard to pick up one of the revisors from the Court of Auditioners.

  • Eat Belgian fries with sauce Andalouse or any other of the Belgian sauces. Fries sold on virtually every corner.
  • Eat Belgian waffles with chocolate, whipped cream and fruit decoration. Sold in small shops on the streets.
  • In case you’ll need to kill time in the A terminal of Brussel’s international airport, then you should spend the time in the Beaudevin wine & tapas bar. It is hidden in a corner of the top floor of the terminal duty-free-shopping mall, next to a book shop. The interior designer managed to create a calm place, disconnected from the hectic flow of passengers. The places’ highlight is a self-service wine dispenser (you need to buy a card for 25€ or 50€), where you can sample the houses’ selection of the world’s most famous wines. Both the regular wine à la carte and the tapas selection are quite good, and reasonably-prized by any airport standards. Just sit there, or use it as a post-meeting networking location with everybody that leaves for the airport after the meeting!

What to bring home

  • Chocolate in all its forms! Run for Galérie Royales Saint Hubért, close to the old town market square, and stuff your suitcase!
  • A Belgian beer sample pack, available from many of the beer tourist shops in town (or, just a selection of Belgian bottles from the supermarket)
  • If you’re interested in fashonable accesories, then Galérie Royales Saint Hubért will offer a hat can cap shop for men, and an Italian glove shop for women. The latter is a former pharmacy, where all the drawers in the old cupboard now store leather gloves. “Can I try the turquoise wild board pair with the red stripes once more?”

Maps & links

The challenge with maps in Bruselles is that streets have a French and a Flemish (Dutch) name. Just because you’ve got the name in one language doesn’t mean it will be on map or the road sign in that language. Refer to several maps if necessary.

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8 comments to Bruxelles – Brussels – Brüssel

  • admin

    I like the little kiosk at the place jourdan, close to the main building of the EC commission. In my opinion, they serve the best French (Belgium) fries I have ever eaten. You will need some time because the queue is impressive but you should definitively visit them – delicious.

  • mobileslebenundarbeiten

    I can recommend the tremendous luxury of the victorian café in Brussel’s Hotel Metropole for any occasion where one might want to buy a drink for a lady.

    On occasion, they sell very affordable last-minute rooms on online hotel reservation portals.

  • Anonymous

    And don’t ever wast your money for the tourist trap mafia-style cloned seafood restaurants in the old town’s gastronomic Bermuda triangle around Rue des Boucher / Petite rue des Boucher. If you want seafood, go check the area around Place Sainte-Cathérine!

  • Jan

    Cheers to the European tax payer!

  • Reviewer

    Get enough €€€-cash beforehand. Old town Brussels doesn’t have too many ATMs, which get completely raided by tourists early on the weekend. If you don’t have French or Belgian bank cards… stock up on cash before hitting the old town!

  • DINer for one

    Check this page for an overview of the EU Commissions offices (including a map):

    The European Commission itself publishes a list and maps with public transport accessibility of its buildings on (see “Commission buildings in Brussels”).

  • mobileslebenundarbeiten

    In case you’re coming to Brussels from outside the EU, don’t forget your the VAT refund forms available from the Belgian tax authority:

  • Networker

    Hello IT researchers!

    Don’t miss this in case you’re travelling to Brussels in the end of September 2010! The EU’s bi-annual conference for the ICT research programme (and subsidies) is complemented with the traditional local excurse into food and culture of the host country. Belgium, for this one. Possibly your last chance to enjoy “Belgian” specialities before they get sorted out in “French” and “Dutch”.

    ICT Event 2010 Night: Social Event

    When? September 28, 19:30 – 23:00

    What? Cocktail party organised by the Belgian Presidency of the European Union on the occasion of the ICT 2010 event in the prestigious Saint Hubertus Royal Gallery. The evening programme includes food tasting of Belgian and Brussels’ specialties, showcasing of Belgian and European “digital media artworks installations” as well as a promenade among the gallery’s famous shops. An exceptional VIP evening in an exquisite place allowing you to build professional relationships in a relaxed and festive atmosphere.

    Read more here:

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